This 12-day walking tour walks the full Beara Way route, starting and ending in Kenmare town, including walking to Dursey Island.
- Total immersion in the Beara peninsula. Everyone should do it at least once.
- Kenmare; a triangle of story and history, wrapped in colour and craft.
- Two full days at the western tip of the peninsula.
Overnight in this lovely town on the Roughty River and the head of Kenmare Bay – the name translates as Ceann Mara, the Head of the Sea. All services are available in Kenmare.
Day 2: Walk from Kenmare town to Glengarriff
The ascent between Esk and Barraboy Mountain crosses the border between counties Cork & Kerry and opens a vista of Bantry Bay. Walk to Dromahassig Waterfall, through the glen of the Baureagh River before climbing to the pass. Descend to the Nature Reserve of natural forest that makes Glengarriff the “rough glen”.
Distance 19km. Ascent 350m. Approximate walking time 6 hours.
Overnight accommodation Glengarriff village
Day 3: Glengarriff to Adrigole
Walk through the Glengarriff woods and Glenlough Mountains, following old tracks alongside Coomarkane River, climbing the flank of the Sugarloaf, skirting mountain lakes to descend from Mass Mount and the Holy Well. Tonight’s evening meal will be in your guesthouse.
Distance 16km. Ascents 510m. Approximate walking time 5 hours.
Overnight accommodation near Adrigole. Dinner tonight is in your guesthouse.
Day 4 – Adrigole to Castletownbere
Wonderful views over Bantry Bay and a series of pre-historic sites close to the route. Cross the rugged slopes of Hungry Hill by bog roads, farm tracks and minor roads. Castletownbere, nestled in the lee of Bere Haven Harbour and sheltered by Bere Island, is the principal town of the peninsula and the largest whitefish port in Ireland. It offers a full range of services.
Distance 22km. Ascents 550m. Approximate walking time 6 hours.
Overnight accommodation in Castletownbere town.
Day 5 – Free Day in Castletownbere
Visit Bere Island with a resident community of 210 people. Walk through open sheep farming country, visiting Ardnakinna Lighthouse and a Martello Tower. Or on the mainland, visit Dunboy Castle home to O’Sullivan clan who ruled the area for three centuries. Puxley mansion was a 19th century family home of the Puxley’s, who mined copper in the area. Bicycles are for hire in Castletownbere for more exploration.
Distance 8km or 24km. Ascents 250m. Approximate walking time 6 hours.
Overnight accommodation in Castletownbere town.
Day 6: Walk Castletownbere to Garinish
The area is rich in megalithic remains, stone rows, forts, tombs indicating its importance in the Bronze Age period, 1200-700BC, and a stone circle at Derreentaggart. The Way crosses open hill terrain under the peak of Knockgour at 481m, with views to Allihies and Ballydonegan Bay. A spectacular descent to Garinish at the western end of the peninsula
Distance 19km. Ascents 660m. Approximate walking time 6 hours.
Overnight accommodation in Garinish townland. Dinner tonight is in your guesthouse.
Day 7: Free day to walk to Dursey Island
A magnificent place to spend a day, along the very western end of Europe. The Dursey Island Cable Car is a unique experience. On the island are the ruins of St. Mary’s Abbey and in the nearby the family vault of O’Sullivan Beara. From the furthest tip of the island, Dursey Head, there are three little islands: The Bull, The Cow, and The Calf. The Bull has the largest gannet colony in Ireland and both it and The Cow have been designated as areas of wild-life protection.
Distance 14km. Ascents 240m. Approximate walking time 4 hours.
Overnight Garinish townland. Dinner tonight is in your guesthouse.
Day 8: Garinish to Allihies
Walk the southern side of the Garinish Loop trough Firkeel Gap. Retrace your steps through Foher to Ballydonegan and follow the coastline out to Allihies Point and along the wonderful coastline at Dangan Rocks. Visit the Allihies Copper Mining Museum to understand the influence this industry had on the area before you walk through it tomorrow.
Distance 14km. Ascents 300m. Approximate walking time 4 hours.
Overnight accommodation Allihies village.
Day 9: Allihies to Ardgroom
Mining tracks with views of Coulagh Bay to the north and the mouth of the Kenmare River. Pass coastguard ruins, rocky shorelines to the Ballycrovane Standing stone before venturing inland, past Lough Fadda above Ardgroom Harbour and the beautiful isolated coast of Cleanderry & Bird Point. If you have time this evening, the Pulleen Sea caves are worth a visit.
Distance 21km. Ascents 340m. Approximate walking time 6 hours
Overnight near Ardgroom village. Dinner tonight is in your guesthouse.
Day 10: Ardgroom to Lauragh
A line of prehistoric monuments accompanies you today! At Killmackillogue Harbour and Lauragh visit Dereen House & Gardens, more than 60 acres of sub tropical garden and woodland with wonderful views.
Distance 14km. Ascents 140m. Approximate walking time 4 hours.
Overnight in Lauragh townland. Dinner tonight is in your guesthouse.
Day 11: Lauragh to Kenmare
Climb to a saddle at 150m between the hills of Knockatee and Knockanoughanish and then higher through open hillside. Superb views of the Cloonee Lakes descending to Lough Inchiquin and a stone circle from the Neolithic era 3500 – 2000 B.C. Climb the Inchiquin valley, past isolated farmhouses and onto a saddle at 370m.
Distance 24km. Ascents 470m. Approximate walking time 6 hours.
Overnight accommodation Kenmare town.
Day 12: Departure from Kenmare.
Scheduled bus services from Kenmare to Killarney or Cork for onward connections.
Prices & Booking
€121 single supplement.
* Eleven nights Bed & Breakfast guesthouse accommodation;
* Luggage transfers each day;
* Detailed route descriptions;
* Relevant 1:50000 maps.
What’s not included
* Other meals.
* Entries or excursions.
* Transfers to or from Kenmare.
I want to especially thank you for making this trip happen and coordinating all the arrangements and information I needed. It’s been special to visit Ireland, and this part of Ireland. Thanks for your organisation and warmth.
April 2015 – F. Havermann, The Netherlands
Just touching base to say that all is going well. I had a great walk today from Adrigole to Castletownbere. The wind was at my back (in line with that lovely Irish blessing) and no rain . I really enjoyed Margaret’s hospitality, home-made food, fresh water with lemon (I drank that all day – truly quenches a thirst), and the views from her place. Of course, last night was special as you could see the full moon reflected in the harbour!!
Location & Grade